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Instructions for Planting Potatoes

potato image by dinostock from

The underground tubers of the potato plant (Solanum tuberosum) have long provided a diet staple for numerous civilizations. When growing potatoes at home, you have dozens of choices when it comes to selecting a specific potato variety. Whatever variety you choose, all backyard potato crops can be quickly started by planting seed potatoes.

Ready the potato planting area. Potatoes thrive best in deep, loose soil, according to Ohio State University. The university recommends breaking up the soil to a depth of 10 inches. Mix in 3 to 4 inches of compost to make the soil more loose and crumbly in texture.

Fertilize the gardening area. Cornell University recommends using 2 lbs. of 5-10-10 fertilizer for every 25 feet of potato rows or 1 lb. of 10-10-10 fertilizer for the same area. Spread the fertilizer on the soil surface, and then mix it into the top 2 inches of dirt.

Prepare the seed potatoes. Place the seed potato on a scale. Potatoes that weigh less than 2 oz. don't need preparation. Potatoes that are larger than 2 oz. should be cut so that they weigh 2 oz. or less, according to Cornell University. Thus, you can slice an 8-oz. seed potato into four pieces. Each piece must have an eye, which is the dot on the potato surface where the vine will sprout.

Plant the seed potatoes. Bury each potato 1 or 2 inches deep. Separate each seed potato by 12 inches, and space the rows apart by approximately 3 feet.

Water the gardening area once a day, using enough water to moisten the dirt to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. The seed potatoes will sprout underground, typically breaking the surface within a couple of weeks.


If you're buying seed potatoes from a nursery in bulk, expect to use approximately 12 lbs. of seed potatoes for every 100 feet of gardening rows, according to Ohio State University.

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